The Promised Holy Spirit – arrived!

This post is not meant to be a New Testament overview of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it’s a follow-up to my recent The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

When the Holy Spirit returned after 400 years of silence, He did not come quietly. He bursts onto the scene. The Spirit overshadows Mary so she conceives a child (Luke 1:35). John the Baptist (Luke 1:15), his mother (1:41) and father (1:67) were all filled with the Holy Spirit and both parents prophesied as a result. The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon in the temple (2:25). When John began his ministry, he did so speaking of the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit (3:16), and testifying of the one on whom the Spirit descended (John 1:32f).

The Holy Spirit’s activity in the early chapters of the gospels was remarkable. For the first time the Holy Spirit was described as having filled a person. For the first time we are told explicitly that He visited women. But it was after all only two women, and only half a dozen people in all – and all of them Jews. Remarkable and unexpected as it was, this was not a pouring out on all people. The promises in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel were not yet fulfilled.
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Articles in this series:

  1. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
  2. The Promised Holy Spirit – arrived! <-- This article

Cessationism and the last days

A fascinating post from Mark Lauterbach about The Gospel Age and Continuationism. It’s great to see someone else doing some thinking in this area (and thanks to Adrian for flagging it up).

There’s a great deal about Mark’s post that makes sense, and it’s a very helpful summary of what a lot of folk are starting to believe. Let me give you a flavour:

The new age, according to Joel and Peter’s quoting of him at Pentecost, is the age of the pouring out of the Spirit… The end of the former age and the beginning of the new took place at the resurrection. Christ is risen, the first-fruits of those who sleep… Classical cessation-ism theorizes that there is an apostolic era, a transitional time in the beginning of the age, after which certain gifts fade. But this is to place the transition at the wrong point in time. It is not the apostles presence that marks the age. It is the empty tomb.

What’s good about Mark’s post is that he points out much that is wrong with the traditional cessationist view. He’s right, it is not the apostles’ presence that marks the new age. There’s not sufficient time to develop my response in one post, so I’ll no doubt return to it (and Mark’s other excellent entries) at a later date. But let me at least start.
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